Trinity Hosts Statewide Conference: "Responding to Sexual Assault on Campus: Why Now?"

President Berger-Sweeney and Senator Richard Blumenthal among Featured Speakers

Hartford, CT, October 7, 2014 – “Responding to Sexual Assault on Campus: Why Now?” was the topic of a statewide conference hosted at Trinity on Oct. 3, with participants representing more than a dozen colleges and universities from Connecticut and New England. Trinity President Joanne Berger-Sweeney and Connecticut U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal were among the featured speakers at the event, presented by the Connecticut chapter of AAUW, a national women and girls empowerment organization, originally known as the American Association of University Women.

A panel discussion moderated by Karla Spurlock-Evans, Trinity’s Title IX coordinator, dean of multicultural affairs, and senior diversity officer, featured panelists, from left: Madison Norwich ’16, University of Hartford; Donna Palomba, author, women’s advocate, and founder of Jane Doe No More; Julian Wilson, Southern Connecticut State University Men’s Initiative; Ana Medina ’16, co-coordinator of Trinity’s Students Encouraging Consensual Sex; and Anne Hedgepath, AAUW government relations manager.

Berger-Sweeney spoke of how Trinity students are driving progress in addressing the issue of campus sexual assault and have helped to create a more educated and safer campus with higher reporting numbers. She lauded the efforts of the Trinity group, Students Encouraging Consensual Sex (SECS), which produces four major educational programs each year: The Red Flag Campaign, Voices Raised in Power, The Vagina Monologues, and the Take Back the Night march and rally. 

“While it makes us cringe every time we hear news stories refer to an epidemic of sexual assault on campus,” said Berger-Sweeney, “the increase in awareness will support our collective efforts.”

Senator Blumenthal, who has proposed federal legislation known as the Campus Safety and Accountability Act, said, “Sexual violence is a societal issue, not a women’s issue, and more must be done to protect students on campuses.” He added, “The practice of blaming the victim or survivor is one of the things we need to change.”

Trinity alumna Donna Haghighat ’89, co-president of AAUW CT, and Laura Lockwood, director of Trinity’s Women and Gender Resource Action Center, were instrumental in planning the conference, which was attended by about 90 people.

View photos from the conference.